Month of August, 2006

Fuller Inspired Furniture

August 04, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM

From Architecture to Artful Furniture Design: Designers innovative pieces are informed by the works by Fuller, Safdie, and Van Der Rohe. by Staff | Interior Design | August 2, 2006

In the 19th century, Chicago architect Louis Sullivan coined the phrase "form follows function." Today, the Chicago Furniture Designers Association borrows the still-relevant words to dub its latest exhibit. "Form Follows Form, Architecturally Inspired Furniture," which will be held September 21—October 28, presents the creations of Chicago designers that honor the tradition and the institution of architecture itself. Suddenly, the act of building furniture takes on a whole new meaning, as designers integrate architectural concepts into their pieces. The show will be held in the Upper Level Sculpture Gallery in the Paul V. Galvin Library at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Entries are still be entered for the juried show, but some designs of note are already in the lineup, including a Buckminster Fuller-inspired chair by John Kriegshauser that is so structurally efficient, it weighs less than 3 pounds but can support a large man; a infinitely reconfigurable coffee table by Robert Frazier that takes it cues from Moshe Safdie; Dolly Spragins's whimsical "Windy City," inspired by the elasticity of skyscrapers; and Lisa Elkins's coffee table, which references Mies Van Der Rohe's Crown Hall.  READ MORE »


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Dutch Wind Mill Tree

August 04, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM


A proposition by One Architecture, Ton Matton and NL Architects, comissioned by the Dutch government, for a next generation windmill. The proposed mill is shaped like a tree and can hold up to 8 turbines and be as high as 120 meters! A tree shaped mill is less intrusive in the flat Dutch landscape than the mill-parks they use.

via Inhabitat


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The Materials Information Society

August 09, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM

With its great arching dome and its semi-circular office building, the ASM International Headquarters conveys the imaginative force that marks ASM.

Started in 1958, completed in 1959 and formally dedicated in 1960, one outstanding feature of the building is the geodesic dome or "space lattice" designed by R. Buckminster Fuller. A symbol of man’s mastery of his metal resources, the open-work dome made of extruded aluminum stands 103 feet high and 250 feet in diameter, weighs 80 tons and contains more than 65,000 parts. The dome is ornamental and open, honeycomb-like, and stands on five pylons, two of which rise up from courtyards set into the building.

Need Directions?

Via Inhabitat.com


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Climatron® conservatory

August 12, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM


The stunning Climatron® conservatory has become a symbol of the Missouri Botanical Garden. The geodesic dome was inspired by the design of R. Buckminster Fuller.

Covering over a half-acre, the Climatron houses some 1,200 species of plants in a natural, tropical setting. Visitors enjoy bananas, cacao, and coffee trees, plus a collection of orchids and epiphytes. The Climatron is also home to a variety of animals, including tropical birds. Several pools and waterfalls give a sense of lushness, as if visitors were within a true tropical rainforest. The Climatron is ever-changing and is an impressive display throughout the year. Learn about plants and their roles in global and regional ecosystems with computerized, interactive exhibits in the attached Brookings Interpretive Center.

For more info: desertnews.com article
mobot.org article


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George W. Hart's Rapid Prototyping Web Page

August 19, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM

hart 1
George is active in using rapid prototyping (RP) technology for a range of purposes, including art, math, and education.

His web page collects in one place some of the models he has designed, with links to papers that have further information about the algorithms, etc. Files for most of these models are provided, which are available for free download so that you can replicate these intricate geometric forms on your own RP machine, as long as you give George design credit when displaying them.

As former artist in residence at MIT, George is also a gifted educator working all over the world and at the leading edge of where mathematics and art intersect. A tour of his website will undoubtedly amaze and inspire all who have interest in this vital subject.

georgehart.com


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Solar Generator Uses Mass Produced Autoparts to Cut Costs

August 20, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM

A set of prototype solar concentrators installed in Lesotho. (Courtesy of Amy Mueller.)
Matthew Orosz, an MIT graduate student advised by Harold Hemond, professor of civil and environmental engineering are working on alternative approaches to solar-based electricity that could significantly cut costs compared to photovoltaics panels. Their goal is to put the ability to harvest electricity from the sun into the hands of villagers in poor countries.
According to Kevin Bullis of MIT's Technology Review the system works like this:

"The basic design of Orosz's solar generator system is simple: a parabolic trough (taking up 15 square meters in this case) focuses light on a pipe containing motor oil. The oil circulates through a heat exchanger, turning a refrigerant into steam, which drives a turbine that, in turn, drives a generator."

"The refrigerant is then cooled in two stages. The first stage recovers heat to make hot water or, in one design, to power an absorption process chiller, like the propane-powered refrigerators in RVs. The solar-generated heat would replace or augment the propane flame used in these devices. The second stage cools the refrigerant further, which improves the efficiency of the system, Orosz says. This stage will probably use cool groundwater pumped to the surface using power from the generator. The water can then be stored in a reservoir for drinking water."

"The design uses readily available parts and tools. For example, both the feed pump and steam turbine are actually power-steering pumps used in cars and trucks. To generate electricity, the team uses an alternator, which is not as efficient as an ordinary generator, but comes already designed to charge a battery, which reduces some of the complexity of the system. And, like power-steering pumps, alternators, including less-expensive reconditioned ones, are easy to come by."

"As a result, the complete system for generating one kilowatt of electricity and 10 kilowatts of heat, including a battery for storing the power generated, can be built for a couple thousand dollars, Orosz says, which is less than half the cost of one kilowatt of photovoltaic panels."

original article  READ MORE »


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World's First Maglev Wind Generator

August 20, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM

Chinese developers unveiled the world's first full-permanent magnetic levitation (Maglev) wind power generator at the Wind Power Asia Exhibition 2006 held June 28 in Beijing. Magnetic levitation, maglev, or magnetic suspension is a method by which an object is suspended above another object with no support other than magnetic fields. The electromagnetic force is used to counteract the effects of the gravitational force.


Regarded as a key breakthrough in the evolution of global wind power technology — and a notable advance in independent intellectual property rights in China—the generator was jointly developed by Guangzhou Energy Research Institute under China’s Academy of Sciences and by Guangzhou Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd. The Maglev generator is expected to boost wind energy generating capacity by as much as 20 percent over traditional wind turbines. This would effectively cut the operational expenses of wind farms by up to half, keeping the overall cost of wind power under 0.4 yuan ($US 5 cents), according to Guokun Li, the chief scientific developer of the new technology. Further, the Maglev is able to utilize winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second (m/s), and cut-in speeds of 3 m/s, the chief of Zhongke Energy was quoted as saying at the exhibition. When compared with the operational hours of existing wind turbines, the new technology will add an additional 1,000 hours of operation annually to wind power plants in areas with an average wind speed of 3 m/s.

Via worldwatch.org
Photo Caption/Credit: Using magnetic levitation for a frictionless air bearing  READ MORE »


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PV's with Concentrators Yield 35% Efficiency Rate

August 28, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM

The Boeing Company has signed a contract to provide 600,000 solar concentrator cells to SolFocus, Inc., a California-based renewable energy company that is developing renewable terrestrial energy alternatives.

Under the 12-month contract from SolFocus, Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., Spectrolab will build and deliver 600,000 solar concentrator cells that will be used to convert the sun's rays into affordable electricity for homes and businesses. The cells produced for SolFocus will be capable of generating more than 10 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power about 4,000 U.S. homes. With the average solar cell efficiency above 35 percent at concentration, Spectrolab's concentrator photovoltaic cells generate electricity at a rate that can be more economical than electricity generated from conventional, flat panel photovoltaic systems.

A significant advantage of concentrator systems is that fewer solar cells are required to achieve a specific power output, thus replacing large areas of semiconductor materials with relatively inexpensive optics that provide optical concentration. The slightly higher cost of multi-junction cells is offset by the use of fewer cells. Due to the higher efficiency of multi-junction cells used in the concentrator modules, only a small fraction of the cell area is required to generate the same power output compared to crystalline silicon or thin-film, flat-plate modules.

technologynewsdaily.com


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State of the Planet 2006 eBriefing

August 28, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM

The Earth Institute at Columbia University, in cooperation with the New York Academy of Sciences, is pleased to announce the publication of a NYAS eBriefing based on the recent Earth Institute conference, State of the Planet 2006: Is Sustainable Development Feasible?

http://www.nyas.org/sop

This free web-based report includes a comprehensive meeting summary, links to video and transcripts of the conference, a wide-ranging set of open questions, a rich library of related resources, and additional background information.


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Tidal Energy as Tool to Restore Dead Coral Reefs

August 29, 2006 - 02:13:20 AM

coral
This strikes me as a **very compelling** breakthrough with regard to coral reef restoration.

Dr. Thomas J. Goreau and his team received an award in the IDEAS Competition at MIT, Cambridge, MA for their tidal energy device which is used to re-establish dead coral reefs. The coral communities grow very quickly and can survive at higher water temperatures.

See the fascinating 3 min 40 sec video clip in which Professor Goreau eleoquently explains and illustrates the results of his research.

For more information got to globalcoral.org

Via: http://energyvision.blogspot.com/


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